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Top 10 Movie Dads June 21, 2009

parenthoodDid you know that the biggest day for phone calls is Mother’s Day? If you didn’t, that’s probably not a very surprising statistic. But did you know that the biggest day for COLLECT phone calls is Father’s Day? That’s fairly shocking to me; what losers collect call their Dads to wish them a happy Father’s Day???? There’s no excuse! Dads deserve way more. So, if you’ve been less than thoughtful in the past, this Father’s Day – be nice to your Pops; get him a card and a gift, take him out somewhere and make a fuss of him, just like you would for your Mum. He probably won’t make as big a deal out of it as she does but it’ll matter to him just as much. On Sunday, give him more than the Big Piece of Chicken…(”Sure is easy to read with all this light!”) In random order…


Gil Buckman – Parenthood – It takes a big man to fill Cowboy Dan’s boots. Luckily, Gil Buckman is a big man. Puked on, dumpster-diving for lost retainers, having a crap time at work, staying sane through the 136th verse of the ‘Diarrhea Song’ , he still makes time to coach little league and play ‘Bad Dudes’. Even Gil’s own emotionally-removed Dad has to admit he’s a good Father and while he makes mistakes, “You made me play second base!!!!”, he manages to keep his sense of humour throughout. My personal favourite Movie Dad.


Sonny Kaufax – Big Daddy – I subscribe to Sonny’s brand of Fathering, it lets a kid wear wellies and ski-goggles in public and re-name themselves ‘Frankenstein’, if they want. It’s the only time in your life when you can look completely ridiculous and people think it’s cute, so take full advantage. I used to wear all manner of crazy things on my weekly, Sunday breakfasts with my Dad; ranging from a fancy flower-girl dress to a Wonder Woman costume and he would be cool with it. The one morning my Mum woke up early enough to see us off, she insisted I wear some itchy, brown, tweed number that I hated which ruined my fun-pancake-good-time. Mums – don’t interfere with rituals that you do not understand, especially when you’re super-cranky in the mornings. (Yes, Mother, I mean you!)



Atticus Finch – To Kill A Mockingbird – No list of Movie Dads would be complete without the Mack Daddy of them all.  Recognizing that the world can be a very ugly place, Finch explains the cruelties and injustices in plain speech, hoping against hope that his children’s innocence can survive. While arguably the Best Film Dad of All Time (And the top of AFI’s ‘Hero’ List) I can’t help thinking it would be a very difficult thing to measure up to Atticus Finch. He’s almost TOO perfect.  I think I’d be a disappointment to Good Old Finchy. Thankfully, I had a much less perfect Dad who told me, “You’ll never be an angel, not with half my chromosomes.” There’s something very comforting in that.



Dr. Jake Houseman – Dirty Dancing – It may be set in the 50’s but the awkward transition from ‘She’s Daddy’s Little Girl’ to ‘Oh Crap, She’s Almost A Woman and I’m Losing Her To Some Worthless Punk’ is a timeless theme. Dr. Houseman has practically unwavering faith in Baby’s virtue, until she’s forced to admit that she spent the night with said ‘Worthless Punk’. It’s not that he doesn’t understand or that he’s really angry, he just didn’t think it would happen so damn quickly. Baby is the good one! (The Father/Daughter relationship between Dr. Houseman and Baby was always the best part of this film for me; the way he trusts her to do the right thing and his idealistic belief that she’s going to make the world a better place is really beautiful. And, while we girls know it’s hard for Dads to let go, believe me, it’s hard for us girls too.)


Jack – Mr. Mom – I have a confession to make, I have never actually seen Mr. Mom, and while I normally don’t write about films I haven’t seen, I’ll bet that 3 things happen – There’s a ‘how the hell does this diaper go on?’ moment, an incident with a kitchen appliance (probably a washing machine, cos they make the most mess)  and some sort of cooking snafu. All I can say is, “sorry, men”, most women nowadays know that you’re not that useless. Just by biological happenstance, the traditional roles were – women have the babies and mind them, men go to work and dole out the punishments. Times have changed a bit and, being completely honest, I know loads of guys who would be rather brilliant Stay-At-Home Dads. And they know how to work a washing machine.


H.I. McDunnough – Raising Arizona – A good Dad will do anything he has to to bring home the Huggies, including slipping back into some old, bad habits. H.I. has Fatherhood thrust upon him and, like many before and after him, he finds it a difficult and strange thing to become accumulated to (’Dadshock’). Of course, it doesn’t help that he and the Missus kidnapped the kid so they’re in constant fear of being caught. But when Junior is in danger, H.I. steps into Protective Mode and suffers humiliations and violence galore in order to keep his baby safe. And, dang-nab it all, he does manage to get those Huggies. (”Nathan Jr accepts me for who I am and I think you’d better had too!”)


Edward Bloom – Big Fish – For all children, Dad is the stuff heroes are made of; this is why kids boast. He’s the strongest – “my Dad can beat up your Dad”. He’s the smartest – “My Dad knows how to do such-and-such”. He’s the smoothest – “Dad, you got a righteous babe like Mom, what’s your secret?” Dads are cowboys, adventurers, super-men. We may grow up and get cynical but those thoughts are always in the back of our minds and the more complex and crazy a Father’s story is, the more we relish it.


Wilson – The Limey – Having screwed-up his relationship with his daughter by being in prison for most of her life, Wilson goes on a mission to make it up to her by avenging her death. He’s an old-school Cockney Rebel and it’s the only way he knows how. It’s hard to see him walk the streets, given the weight of blame he puts on his own shoulders. It’s where it belongs, yes, but he’s man enough to admit that and see the job through to the very end. Wilson may not have gotten out of prison in time to save his own flesh and blood but Terry Valentine will never get the chance to ruin another Father’s daughter.


Alfred Pennyworth – Batman – Although technically Bruce Wayne’s butler, Alfred has been the Father-figure for Master Bruce since Thomas Wayne’s untimely demise. He’s the only one who can make subtle, sarcastic comments at Wayne’s expense and get away with it, which is what happens when you changed the Caped Crusader’s nappies once upon a time. Alfred is the keeper of secrets, the voice of common sense, a partner in crime against crime and Bruce’s grounding force that keeps him joined with his humanity. Without Alfred’s savvy and guidance, Bruce is just a rich loner weirdo in tights.


Marlin – Finding Nemo – The surface of the Earth is about 70% water but this fact is nothing to a Father trying to find his lost child. Braving all the dangers of the deep, Marlin’s fears and trepidations start to vanish as he scours the seas to, ummm, find Nemo. A great film for kids to watch so they can understand the unbridled panic a parent goes through when they run off and disappear. After seeing this, my friend’s kid swore that he would never, ever do that again because, and I quote, “I don’t want Daddy to be almost eaten by sharks.”


Hey! Dave ‘Crockett’ Feeney! This classic jukebox cut is for you, Daddio:

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Sam Tweedle June 21st, 2009

Yup. You pretty much don’t have to watch Mr. Mom. You more or less got the whole movie figured out, but for the record I believe the mess was with a washing machine and a vacume cleaner. There is also the classic scene where he dries off his child’s butt with a hand blower in the men’s room. Hilarity ensues as you can imagine. :D

Erin June 21st, 2009

No, I get it. It wouldn’t be a comedy if hilarity didn’t ensue but I do get a bit tired of the contrite idea that guys are rubbish at domestic stuff. Truth be told, most women I know are quite bad in the kitchen(myself included), for example, whereas the majority of my male friends are really good at cooking and stuff. In fairness, ‘Mr. Mom’ came out when the concept of a Stay-At-Home Dad was fairly new so I may have been a little harsh. Basically, I’m sticking up for the blokes!

Howard June 22nd, 2009

All excellent picks but none died at the hands of the Emperor defending his son Luke. Ok, Darth was a shitty father most of the time but he came through when it counted most.

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